Twins’ Trail Tussle

Next up in our “families that play together” series, some insight in to the trail tussles of the Herring twins, and how they roped mom in to their much-loved trail scene. This is sibling rivalry in its most robust form. We’ve no doubt that Dale will comment on this piece and give us the other side of the story, but here is Kyle’s side, for now!


Names: Kyle and Dale Herring (23) and Elmare Herring (48)

The Herring twins have always been active, with an entertaining history of competing with each other.

“Some might argue that we have an unhealthily competitive active life at times. Growing up, we made life for my parents much easier as we always kept each other occupied. In summer, backyard cricket sessions were the sport of choice and in winter we would migrate indoors to the table tennis table. At a young age we did karate. For tournaments we would obviously be entered into the same age categories and the format was usually knockout. We actually only ended up fighting each other once. For that fight, my parents just receded to the stands and kept rather quiet…

Later, in our early teens, we got into motocross. Initially Dale was a bit bigger than me so he was on a bigger bike and therefore raced in a different category. However, when I moved up things got intense and we started to get extremely competitive again. In high school we tended to play different sports. I was the hockey player and Dale the Rugby player. I guess we wanted to find our own identities. But when I initiated the running craze to the family, the competitiveness sparked right back up.”

Kyle and Dave have been spotted at a few Wildrunner races and other trail events over the years, but one of their biggest brotherly battles was at the Bastille 35km race in 2017. 

“As usual, Dale began faster than me and opened up a decent sized gap. I didn't worry too much because I believed I would catch him in the latter part of the race. In the early stages of the race Dale even switched off his headlamp so that I could not see where he was! I started to reel him in toward the 15km mark. I was almost alongside him when he decided to kick it up a gear and opened up the gap again. I maintained the gap and managed to keep him within view. With every climb I would pick up the pace and minimize the gap. It was my time to play some mind games with Dale. I was trying to get in his head that I am stronger on the climbs (between you and I ... I am). Around the 20km mark the course was flatter and Dale managed to open the gap a bit again. But with around 10km to go I knew I had to throw the hammer down if I wanted to catch my brother. Slowly but surely I started gaining on him. With about 1km to go we made our way onto the Berg river dam banks and I was about 100m behind him. I started opening my legs and got into a full on sprint. Dale saw me coming and did his best to fight off my efforts. I had him in my sights and was ready to make my move. Unfortunately for me, Dale had done enough to remain ahead, and he crossed the line a few seconds ahead of me. It was such an epic race for the both of us that we didn't really think about the other runners. It was as if it was a race just between the two of us. I remember Dale turning to me at the end and saying that he felt like a deer being hunted. I like to think that in races like those the end result doesn't actually matter. He beat me that day, maybe I will beat him the next. But at the end of it, we had an epic run together and we pushed one another to run our absolute best.”


We asked Kyle about their banter, and the possibility of secret training regimes.  

“Banter is an understatement. We each train with different coaches and have different philosophies and approaches on how to train. So there is always banter as to who's philosophy / approach is working better. When one of us has a big week of training then it is usually followed by the other one having a big week (Usually bigger).  And in terms of secret training, if I told you then it wouldn't be a secret to Dale anymore ;)”

In December 2016, Kyle and Dayle convinced their mom to run her first trail.  

“She initially started running on the treadmill in order to lose weight. She ended up running on it so much that she broke the treadmill. We then convinced her that instead of stopping she should take to the roads. She started with just 5km road runs. As she got fitter she got more confident in her running abilities and started to work her way up to further distances. My brother and I pushed her further and convinced her to run some trails and she absolutely loved it. Every time my brother and I try and talk her into doing a distance or terrain that she has not done before she is resistant at first. But we stay on her case and eventually convince her. She then realizes what she is capable of and does her runs with ease. It is extremely rewarding watching her grow and achieve her various goals. We are now trying to convince her to do a marathon or 25km trail. She is extremely hesitant but with perseverance we will convince her.  

I can honestly say it is truly rewarding (running with mom). I love going on my easier runs with my mom and showing her some of the trails I run. Pictures are great and all, but they don't quite do most of the mountains justice. So having her there with us to experience it is great. And we are fortunate because not many people are able to run with their mothers. It is usually also a good time to just chat and catch up.”

When is the next Herring brother show down?

“I am quite enjoying the Ultra distance races at the moment so that is what I will be focussing on. I did the Addo 76km recently, and then will do the George MUT 60km in June. I am still trying to get some experience at these distances and will then take it from there. At the moment Dale is trying to get his sub 3hr road marathon. So he has been running quite a bit of road. In June Dale will be traveling to Namibia to take on the Fish River Ultra. He will be setting out to finish his first 100km at Fish River. At the moment our goals are slightly different and we are headed in different but I can guarantee that we will soon be on the start line, once again competing to see who the fittest Herring Trail Twin is.”

Follow the twins on Instagram: kyleherring18 and dherring900